EU to adopt Japan's tighter thresholds for radiation in food

Europe will lower the levels of radioactivity allowed in food to match already stricter ceilings set by Japan, European Commission head Jose Manuel Barroso said Tuesday.

Barroso said thresholds established after the 1986 nuclear accident at in then-Soviet Ukraine followed the scientific advice of the day, but that with Japan being "very sensitive to anything that affects ," it had instigated even tighter leeway.

As a "precautionary measure," Barroso said, the European Union would now "apply the Japanese values, which are lower than our own."

The commission said last week it could strengthen controls on imports of Japanese food to include checks on the presence of plutonium.

The 27-nation EU's executive arm the previous week imposed emergency tests on imports of Japanese food and feed originating in or consigned from areas most affected by leakage from the Daiichi plant, following a massive earthquake and tsunami.

According to the commission, Japan has the right to export to the EU fishery products, bivalve molluscs (seafood), casings and pet food as well as fruits and vegetables.

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(c) 2011 AFP

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